Mar 22, 2011, 4:10 PM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan faces the Astros today at Space Coast Stadium.
VIERA, Fla. — Before we get to today's game, one quick note about someone who's not playing today. Ryan Zimmerman is missing his eighth straight game with a sore groin, though he's been taking BP and grounders. Jim Riggleman said this morning he hopes to have Zim back in the lineup Friday and then play him in four of the Nationals' last five games of the spring.
John Lannan starts today against the Astros, his second-to-last tune-up before the season begins. At the moment, Lannan is slotted to start the second game of the season (April 2 against the Braves) but that's not set in stone. In fact, Riggleman said everything after Livan Hernandez on Opening Day is still subject to reshuffling.
Because of two off-days in the season's first week, the Nats don't need a No. 5 starter until April 9 in New York, their eighth game. So it's possible they'll only put four starters on the Opening Day roster to open a spot for another reliever or bench player. The problem if that happens, though, is that they can't send likely No. 5 starter Tom Gorzelanny to the minors. He's out of options. And they can't send Hernandez or Jason Marquis. Which means it's possible Lannan or Jordan Zimmermann could draw the short straw and actually have to make one minor-league start before joining the big club.
Plenty of updates from today's game to come. If you notice a significant gap in the updates, it's probably because I left the press box to 1) take photos, 2) interview someone in the clubhouse or 3) make a TV or radio appearance…
ASTROS at NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: Astros radio via XM 183 and MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly sunny, 78 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
CF Jerry Hairston
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
LF Michael Morse
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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